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Jones-ing in right
by Derek Smart
I just caught wind of the news that the Cubs have signed Jacque Jones to a three-year, $16M deal. I thought I smelled something on my way home, but I figured it was merely the odor of rotten food and other unspeakable elements commingling and wafting up from a nearby alleyway. Now I know it was the anticipatory stench of the Cub outfield.
I don't think I can fully express how bad a signing this is. Obviously, I'm not privy to the various trade discussions the Cubs have had with parties unknown, and so I can't understand how the asking price of potentially useful players might have brought Jim Hendry to this particular point of hallucinatory desperation, but I cannot believe that even the strongest Alice-in-Wonderland engraved dose could make a reasonable person look at Jones and see a player worthy of this kind of expenditure in years and dollars.
I'm going to cut my rant short lest I melt the keyboard, and besides, I need to pack, but before I go off to have my brain melted into goo and reconstituted without the pollutants this horrific train wreck of a signing has deposited therein, cleansing my mind of bile so that I might enjoy my family holiday in peace, let me mention that Jones' career hitting line is .279/.327/.455, which is bad enough for a right fielder, but even worse when you consider that he's been playing well below that level for the last two years.
It's one thing to make a bad signing for a single season, but this is one that the club will be regretting from here to 2008, and I simply see no way around it. It will make the team worse in 2006, and it will make them worse for the two years that follow. Perhaps other moves would have done even more damage than this move does, but unless I see some evidence of that, I'm not buying. Conscious or not, this signing signals that the club has decided to rest all their hopes on the arms of their pitching staff, and with how well we've seen that work of late, one can't be blamed for feeling like Cub fans have just received three years of coal in their collective stockings.